Maturing Into Your Style
Written by: Kwesi Adjin Illustration by: Natalia Jheté

Since the invention of clothing, men have faced the issue of how to adjust and stabilize their wardrobe as they mature in both age and taste.  This piece delves into the evolution of a man’s style and gives pointers on how to portray one’s maturity through individual style.

“You feel spry, you still find immature jokes appealing and you still get carded at nightspots – so you must be young? Or?” 

Admit it – you woke up one day and everyone around you kept saying, emailing, posting and texting “Happy 30th Birthday”. You have no idea where the years went. You still feel 17 but your stamina, metabolism and hairline beg to differ.  You get tired a little quicker and a mini gut keeps threatening to protrude.  “I am not old”, you declare loudly in your mind.  “I will not be like those guys who fall victim to a number just because of the number of years that have gone by since they were born”.  You feel spry, you still find immature jokes and young girls (slightly over 18 of course) appealing, and you still get carded at nightspots – so you must be young? Or? You have some money in your wallet and bank account so you are not a loser.  You have read a book or two that you can quote and you have left this continent once or twice, so you are semi-cultured.  You are not old, right?

You are now much wiser, less judgmental and have less to prove. Other than a few regrets about time wasted in dead-end jobs and relationships, you have started getting the hang of this life thing. You are quite sure of the colors you like, the sports teams you love to watch and the risks you are willing and not willing take. But no matter how seasoned you have become, there still remains some real nagging issue, the biggest being – “what the hell do you wear now?” and “what will your style uniform be?” This is an age-old question that has haunted most men in their upper ages for centuries.  Some have succeeded fabulosly and others have failed miserably.

At 14 and throughout your teenage years, you did not care much about clothes. You were a walking mascot for your favorite sports team and you rocked absurd color combinations and logos with pride.  Your friends did too.  You did not stand out because you were part of a team.  Girls knew you looked ridiculous but they said nothing because mutual overcharged libidos had to be addressed and there was no time for those minor things.

In the beginning years of your 20s, there were still some remnants of your lackadaisical garbage teenage style.  But you were hopefully able to shed that crap by 25.  At 25 you started understanding the power of individuality and you began to scratch the surface of confidence. You slowly but surely (even if subconsciously) started realizing some sort of purpose.  Your clothes became a little more focused.  Everything you wore was sternly based on what you liked.  And what you liked at the time was much better than what you liked ten years before.  Your sense of style was guided by some of your style icons, magazine articles and maybe even some respectable music videos – your style was less gaudy and much more deliberate than ever.  The compliments flowed in but even though you knew you were on the right path, you understood that there was s lot of work to do.

As you straddled your late 20s, you became vividly aware that you needed a game changer.  You needed grounding in life but more importantly, you needed grounding in the style department.  The choices were varied.  Were you going to be one of those guys who stuck with sportswear forever?  Would you discard fashion altogether and just go for the everyday “I am a busy dad look”? Or would you develop a style uniform with room for experiments and creativity that works for you?  All are fine choices but the last option is the best by far.  Who cares if you have hit the 30s and beyond?  Who cares if it takes you longer to pee?  Who cares if you are not running the streets like a dog in heat because you know have someone steady?  You are an evolved man and your closet should evolve as well.  A style uniform with room for experiments is the right way to go.  There are a few rules to loosely follow but the key to aging into your style is closely liked to confidence and loving expression and life.  Here are some guidelines to help:

– Pick designers that design for your physique. Here is a start: David Hart, Shades of Grey, The Clothsurgeon, etc.

– Stick to colors that make you happy. Blacks, whites and greys are cool but adding color now and again is not a bad thing.  Life is short!

– Take care of the items you own that already work within your style – here are some tips on taking care of the oh so essential white shirt.

– Experiment with different shirt collars.

– Find what works for you and stick with it.

– Find comfortable stylish shoes – hopefully ones that can go from casual to semi-dressy seamlessly.  Armando Cabral has a few for you to choose from.

– Your casual attire should be interesting and effortless.

– Make sure that your style can transcend seasons so you are not caught out there when the weather changes.

– Find accessories that express who you really are.  There are certain things that define a man and these essentials have to be incorporated into your style.

– Find a magazine or website that you periodically look at to inspire freshness in your wardrobe.

– Ask questions when you are shopping – store clerks are a fountain of information and are more than willing to help if you are buying.

– Start purchasing strategic pieces that work, but don’t go too crazy – moderation and strategy are your cohorts in this matter.

The bottom line is that age is a part of life that cannot be denied, but aging with style makes the years very enjoyable.  Think about it – what is the alternative, either you get older and do it with style or get dead.

To see more art/fashion illustrations from Natalia Jhete, visit here.

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